Labour Deptt issues orders for withholding salaries of package employees

Govt restores free ration for migrants, others

Avtar Bhat

JAMMU, Sept 21: Turning tough towards Prime Minister package employees working in Kashmir valley, the Labour Department has issued standing orders to all concerned officers of the Department to stop the salary of package employees for the month of September this year who have remained absent during the month.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Government of India has issued directives to Food Corporation of India (FCI) to resume the sale of rice under Open Market Sale Scheme (Domestic) (OMSSD) for remaining period of calendar year 2022 to release the ration to migrants and nutrition requirements for school children under the scheme.
It may be recalled that free ration to Kashmiri migrants was suspended since July this year after the suspension of the OMSS(D) policy by Government of India leading to hue and cry among the migrants dependent on relief.
As per the order issued by Deputy Labour Commissioner Kashmir, all the Assistant Labour Commissioners of Kashmir Division have been asked not to release the salaries in respect of those package employees who have remained absent during the month of September. The Assistant Labour Commissioners of Kashmir Division have also been directed to furnish the complete leave account of the PM package employees in particular for the month of July and August to higher office so that the same could be forwarded to higher authorities who have sought the information in this regard.
In another order issued by Deputy Commissioner Anantnag today, all the tehsildars of the district have been asked to submit the attendance certificate in favour of PM package employees.
It may be recalled that the PM package employees are on protest since May 12 this year both at Jammu and in Kashmir after the killing of their colleague Rahul Bhat at Chadoora in Budgam and followed by killings of half a dozen Hindu employees and non employees in Valley by militants creating a fear psychosis among them. Since then, these employees are on protest demanding their relocation to Jammu till security scenario improves in Valley.
However, the Government till date has not taken any decision on the demand while the package employees are totally concerned for their security as out of 6000 employees about 5000 are living in rented accommodations in different parts of Kashmir as no headway has been made in construction of 6000 flats for them in different parts of Valley till date.
Fearing for their as well as the lives of their family members, the package employees feel totally insecure in rented accommodations under prevailing circumstances and hence were demanding their relocation outside Valley. However, the order issued by the Labour Department has generated a lot of resentment among the package employees as well as Kashmiri Pandit organizations who have made a fervent appeal to the Lt Governor to intervene in the matter and ensure safety and security of the package employees who have been target of selective killings in the Valley.
It may be recalled that the Sales Tax Department has asked the package employees to join the duties at their respective places in Valley.
As per the letter of Ministry of Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution Department Government of India, the FCI has been asked to resume the sale of rice under OMSS(D) policy for remaining period of Calendar year 2022 for deficit procuring State Governments /UTs having exigent / special requirement on case to case basis subject to availability of rice stocks.
The Ministry has, however, said that the quantity of rice for sale to each States shall be restricted to maximum 10,000 MT for the remaining period of calendar year 2022. The special dispensation would be effective from the date of issue of this letter.
The letter said earlier it was decided by the Ministry to suspend the sale of wheat and rice to deficit procuring State Governments and UTs under OMSS(D) policy due to lower procurement of wheat in RMS 2022-23 and due to loser stock availability.
The Ministry, however, said following the issuance of order several requests have been made by the State Governments and UTs for supply of rice and wheat under OMSS (D) for their own welfare schemes like for migrants and nutritional requirements for school children for people facing hardships due to devastating floods and other genuine reasons etc.
It may be recalled that the free ration to migrants was also suspended after the Ministry’s order issued in July this year putting the relief holders to many hardships who even took to streets at various occasions demanding restoration of free ration supply.
The Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner, K K Sidha also confirmed that the issue has been settled as the Government of India has decided to release 10,000 MT of rice under OMSS(D) scheme to J&K UT.
He said soon after the supply of ration from FCI to Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Department of the J&K the ration to migrants will be released.